Christmas is a double-edged sword. Every day off, drinks bash and slow down has a price that’s paid in secret Santas, Christmas jumper days and the should-I-shouldn’t-I dilemma of festive cards to sworn enemies and bosses (the two often coinciding).
Worst of all is the Walking Dead style collapse of all norms and order. It becomes Lord Of The Flies out there as everyone, in a spirit of jollity and fun, becomes slightly inebriated from the Champers or slightly heady from the chaos.
And there is wreckage. Oh yes, there is wreckage. This is the era of the Pug. The Poisonous Unsubstantiated Gripe.
The Complaint is a more manageable creature. It requires evidence and procedure; it requires someone to step out of line and head up the chain of command to make their point. It takes will. It even takes courage.
The Pug is at the other end of the spectrum. It requires nothing except opportunity. And when the barriers are down because the decorations are up, the opportunities come thick and fast.
This is when the Office Christmas Party comes into its own with managers getting down with the kids, showing they’re not stuffed shirts by downing Red Bull and Vodka and bantzing with all-comers.
So the Pug handlers seize their moment. They sidle up to Senior Manager and they let slip some Pug or other.
Senior Manager laughs it off. But it festers. Now she’s buddied up with some worker bee who’s name she never previously knew she feels like she’s one with the proles.
And what with that impending New Year Resolution to spend more time with the workforce, she feels emboldened to say something to Middle Manager about the unrest in the ranks. The piggy in the middle will get it in the neck.
And that’s the strength of the Pug. Poisonous. Unsubstantiated. Gripe. A miasma. Nothing of substance, nothing to deny. All Middle Manager can do is sit there and take it while Senior Manager demands that she “do something” – even though there’s nothing to be done.
And beleaguered Middle Manager is forced to carry that Pug stink right through Christmas.